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Rapture Practice
Cover of Rapture Practice
Rapture Practice
A True Story about Growing Up Gay in an Evangelical Family
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Sometimes salvation is found in the strangest places: a true story. Aaron Hartzler grew up in a home where he was taught that at any moment the Rapture could happen. That Jesus might come down in the...
Sometimes salvation is found in the strangest places: a true story. Aaron Hartzler grew up in a home where he was taught that at any moment the Rapture could happen. That Jesus might come down in the...
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Description-

  • Sometimes salvation is found in the strangest places: a true story.


    Aaron Hartzler grew up in a home where he was taught that at any moment the Rapture could happen. That Jesus might come down in the twinkling of an eye and scoop Aaron and his family up to heaven. As a kid, Aaron was thrilled by the idea that every moment of every day might be his last one on planet Earth.


    But as Aaron turns sixteen, he finds himself more attached to his earthly life and curious about all the things his family forsakes for the Lord. He begins to realize he doesn't want the Rapture to happen just yet--not before he sees his first movie, stars in the school play, or has his first kiss. Eventually Aaron makes the plunge from conflicted do-gooder to full-fledged teen rebel.


    Whether he's sneaking out, making out, or playing hymns with a hangover, Aaron learns a few lessons that can't be found in the Bible. He discovers that the best friends aren't always the ones your mom and dad approve of, and the tricky part about believing is that no one can do it for you.


    In this funny and heartfelt coming-of-age memoir, debut author Aaron Hartzler recalls his teenage journey to find the person he is without losing the family that loves him. It's a story about losing your faith and finding your place and your own truth--which is always stranger than fiction.

About the Author-

  • Aaron Hartzler has written books, screenplays, and a great number of tweets. His first book, Rapture Practice (2013) is a true story about his own life, a memoir about getting kicked out of his Christian high school in Kansas City two weeks before graduation. The New York Times called Rapture Practice "effervescent and moving, evocative and tender." It was also one of Amazon's Best Books of 2013, and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. He invites you to visit him online at www.aaronhartzler.com.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 6, 2013
    Hartzler makes his debut with this accessible memoir about coming of age in a very strict Christian family. Aaron, the oldest of four children, has always been a stellar son, following his parents' edicts to the letter—no television, secular music, or movies—even when he doesn't fully understand them. He's also a joyful soldier of the Lord, happy to help his mother lead their neighborhood Good News Club, or lend accompaniment to his preacher father at church services. But when Aaron turns 16, his natural desire to explore the larger world outside his faith, including listening to pop music, dating and experiencing sexual attraction, and experimenting with alcohol, is perceived as rebellion, stirring up big trouble at home and at his ultra-conservative Christian school. Many readers may find the circumstances of Aaron's sheltered upbringing hard to believe. What rings very true, however, is the author's thoughtful search for answers to his heart's biggest questions, and his pragmatism and sense of humor on the journey. Ages 15-up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from March 15, 2013
    An eye-opening, autobiographical account of growing up waiting for the rapture. Since birth, Hartzler has been taught that any day, Jesus could scoop his family off to heaven. To prepare, his mom leads his youth group in a song called "Countdown," in which they sing "BLASTOFF!" at the tops of their lungs and jump as if they're being taken into the sky. Religion shapes every aspect of Hartzler's life, but love is also at the heart of his work. That's what's at stake when he starts making left turns in both his activities and his belief system in high school. He sneaks to movies his parents would never approve of, illicitly listens to popular music, and plans wild, drunken parties. He has his first kiss, and eventually he begins to think that he might like boys (but that's not the main point). His story emphasizes discovery more than rebellion, and the narrative is carefully constructed to show and not judge the beliefs of his family and their community. That said, he's constantly under close surveillance, and readers will wince in sympathy as they experience his punishments for what they might deem trivial actions. Hartzler's laugh-out-loud stylings range from the subtle to the ridiculous (his grandmother on wearing lipstick: "I need just a touch, so folks won't think we're Pentecostal"). A hilarious first-of-its-kind story that will surely inspire more. (Memoir. 14 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2013

    Gr 9 Up-Hartzler grew up in an Evangelical Christian home, where he was taught that the Rapture might happen any minute. As he grew into his teen years, he began to question this belief and to be drawn to more worldly things-movies, rock music, plays, literature, and kissing. To a secular audience, Hartzler's parents' rules about whom he can befriend and how he can live his life may come across as draconian, but the author is open and fair about how they lived their beliefs and how they always loved him, even as their rules drove him away. Hartzler is honest about his sexual encounters with girls (and boys) and about underage drinking that happened at parties he attended. His memoir is appealing because of his honesty, and forthrightness. When writing about Evangelical Christians, he never takes on a condescending tone. He shows where his own questions led him, even as he shows how his parents saw things very differently than he did. His style is clear and lively, and he makes readers see how the questioning of his faith began, and how it grew. Readers will want to spend time with Hartzler to find out how he became true to himself and what choices he made on that journey.-Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Ellen Hopkins, New York Times bestselling author of Crank and Tilt Rapture Practice opened my eyes—and my mind—to a segment of society I've never quite understood. Wherever you weigh in on the religion scale, this book will speak to you.
  • Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of I'll Be There Rapture Practice is breathtaking. Aaron Hartzler has the lightest touch when it comes to telling his story. His writing is heartfelt and earnest, while at the same time funny and courageous. I'm in love with this book.

  • Melissa de la Cruz, New York Timesbestselling author of the Blue Bloods series Aaron's Hartzler's Rapture Practice is a sad, wise, funny and life-affirming story of coming of age and finding the courage to be who you are while still remaining true to your family. I was incredibly moved to tears and laughter by this memoir and urge all teenagers to read it, especially those struggling with faith and identity themselves.
  • Laura McNeal, National Book Honor author of Dark Water This book is a miracle...Aaron Harztler sees that asking others to love you for what you are means loving them for what they are and that, furthermore, they may be as powerless as you are to change...An achingly innocent and sweetly funny book about guilt, rebellion, love, and acceptance.

  • John Corey Whaley, author of the Michael L. Printz Winner for Where Things Come Back I think the best stories are the ones about the absurdity and beauty of growing up—and Aaron Hartzler's Rapture Practice is one whose humor, honesty, and heart make universal even the most unique situations. This is a story about faith that gives you just that—faith in humanity, in family, and in yourself.

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    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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